In Conversation with Rising Country Music Star, Twinnie
Photography: Ray Burmiston
Words: Lara Journo
Hair & Make Up: Lindsay Bown
Shop the edit and a percentage of the profit will be donated to Twinnie's chosen charity, the Alzheimer's Society
Recently signed to major global music label BMG and named by Rolling Stone as one of the stand-out acts at this year’s Country2Country festival, Twinnie is one to watch. We could not be more excited that she has agreed to be our featured artist for May, to join our conversation and raise money for her chosen charity. We meet her at her sold out gig at The Lexington in London, following a shoot at London's famous recording studio, Red Bus. We feel very privileged to have seen Twinnie in action and are certainly country converts now!
We are thrilled to have made it to your gig - such a brilliant atmosphere and show. You clearly have a very devoted fan base. Can you tell us about Hollywood Gypsy?
Thank you for coming to the gig! Hollywood Gypsy is the name of my album. It’s about my journey and the people and the town that made me. I grew up loving Hollywood movie musicals and I have Romani Gypsy heritage. I feel like it’s a song that sums me and my journey up in three minutes. I wrote it in Nashville with Lucy Silvas and Jeremy Speilman. After I came out of the writing session, I knew it was what I wanted to call the album. My team back home were a bit dubious. They didn't really believe that it would work but I felt it summed me up quite well. When I was in LA filming my music video for ‘Better when I'm Drunk’ I had Hollywood gypsy tattooed on my wedding ring finger as music has always been my first love and that's what it symbolises. I sent an email to my team with a picture of a tattoo saying it's definitely called ‘Hollywood Gypsy’ because I was so adamant…and now it’s written in ink!
You have a new single out called 'Better when I’m drunk' which is on the debut EP you’ve just released. How did you pick that for the single?
Better when I’m drunk was really easy to pick. It was a unanimous yes because everyone found it so catchy and the lyric isn’t something someone would normally sing to!
When did you discover your love for Country Music? It’s an unusual genre for a UK artist…
My love for country music happened at a very early age. I grew up on Irish folk music, old school Country as well some of the greatest singer/song writers like Billy Joel and Gilbert O'Sullivan. I was constantly writing poems and, as you know, country music is all about a story, so I think subconsciously I was always doing that without knowing it.
I really love music all sorts of genres, styles but I guess the one that connected with me the most was the artists that told stories. I used to be obsessed with Hollywood movie musicals people that could act out a song, so I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. I remember wanting to be Dolly Parton. I loved patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, not to mention Shania Twain and Taylor swift. My influences as a kid kind of shaped me growing up as a song writer but I still now I'm all about trying to connect with someone by telling a story.
Country music is so expressive – do you use your music to express your emotions or views?
I absolutely do, music is all about self-expression. It’s actually way cheaper than therapy as well ha ah ha! You always know what I’m feeling from the last song I’ve written.
You have chosen the Alzheimer Society as your charity. Can you tell us why?
The Alzheimer’s Society charity is very close to my heart. “You Remind Me” is a song that I have co-written with an artist called Rob Bradley. The song is inspired by my uncle who unfortunately has Alzheimers. It started out as a passion project as I desperately wanted to shed a light on this horrible disease which affected my family. It will be released on 13th May and I hope it will shed more light on Alzheimer's and raise awareness. The song is also inspired by the film The Notebook, I used my grandma and granddad in the video to tell this story. It's very personal for me. I directed the video,
executive produced the track, co-wrote the song and I also filmed it in York where my uncle is being cared for in the nursing home.
I met the artist, Rob Bradley, at a night for new and up-and-coming artists put on by Pixie Lott. We were both performing. Rob is a Rapper, a kind of poet and I was inspired by his writing and the way he uses lyrics. I am inspired by a lot of rappers anyway, the cadences they use, they tell stories in a way you haven’t heard before…Its always very poignant and very truthful… And I remember thinking, 'I have to work with that guy'. This all happened around the time my uncle was being diagnosed.
Why did you choose the jewellery for your edit?
Because, in short, they just felt like me. Pieces I would probably buy if I had seen in a shop.
If you could pick one song that has influenced you more than any other what would it be?
Bette Middler “Glory of Love” from beaches. I saw that when I was three years old and it was the first song I ever properly learned. It was then I just knew I wanted to do music for the rest of my life.
When is your album being released?
Next February! Can’t wait!
Which are your favourite tracks and why?
That’s hard I feel like I love all of them but each one for different reasons. They are all different sides of my personality so I don’t think I can choose.
What or who inspires you?
People just in general, biggest inspiration is from the people around me or what I observe.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
Regarding music? That I wished I stuck to my piano lessons as a kid and practised more.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Finding a balance between my job and just normal life. I’m a bit obsessed and it’s all I think about. Music is part of me.
You go to Nashville to write – do you think that has a big impact on the music you produce?
Not sure really, I think all my songs are similar in the way they’ve been written. They were written in the UK/US and Sweden and some songs over 6 years ago.
You sang a beautiful song to your mother at the gig. Did you write that song for her? It was so moving. She has obviously been an amazing force in your life.
I did write a song for my mother it’s called 'The Show' and I thought it was very fitting to end on that song. My mum is probably my biggest fan and has supported me constantly. She is such an amazing lady and I wanted to dedicate a song to her and her journey. She’s been an amazing mother not to mention an incredible friend to me.
What have been the highs and lows of your career so far?
Singing on stage with Bryan Adams! (pic above)
I can't really pinpoint any specific highs other than the high points of my music really such as performing with Brian May on my 19th Birthday, Bryan Adams in front of thousands of people. Releasing my EP was a massive moment for me as all I have ever wanted to do is make music that connects with people and I got an opportunity to do that. It took me a long time to get signed simply by not really knowing the right people, but I found my way through. I met a lot of people I met through singing. Dancing, film and TV some of those connections came back around.
There are lots of lows that come with being an artist particular when you trying to make it work financially, but I think the lowest point that I've had was down to a motorbike accident 8 years ago.I broke my leg very badly which was awful, and I caught a bug when I was in the hospital. I was in hospital for about 12 days and I couldn't eat. When I came out of hospital, I was half the person I was when I went in. It affected me mentally. I was very depressed as I had just opened in the original cast of Rock of Ages and I couldn't dance anymore. It felt so weird after doing 8 shows a week to doing nothing. I really went into myself. But it did make me realise that life has got a funny way of working out. I then re-evaluated and decided to solely focus on music because what I had been doing before was just a distraction ..The jobs that were paying my rent were taking away from my writing…..
I am the only unmarried female left in the family!
I can kick my legs really high!
What's the dream?
To be able to keep making music for the rest of my life.